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Computer Mind Melding

As computers become more like us and as we purposefully program our computers to reflexively behave as if they are us — instead of us — are we risking the loss of autonomous thought?

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Picture Yourself Learning Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

I’m thrilled to announce the availability of my latest bookPicture Yourself Learning Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard — published by Thomson/Cengage Learning.

Picture Yourself Learning Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Book Cover

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Fun with Text-to-Speech

There is no greater fun than playing around with Text-to-Speech on the AT&T Labs website.

ATT Labs

Text-to-Speech has great advantages for aiding the communication needs of the disabled: Those without voice are given one; those who cannot see can hear text. Text-to-Speech can also be used in the everyday world of the ordinary consumer. I have visited the AT&T Labs website to have phrases like “Janna is calling!” made into .WAV files.

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Top Ten Reasons I Hate My MacBook Pro

Yesterday we discussed the Top Ten Reasons I Love my MacBook Pro and today, to be fair, we look at the darker side of the MacBook Pro in the definitive Top Ten List of Hates:

1. Heat: The 17-inch MacBook I have runs hot. Because the case is made of metal the heat goes directly from inside the machine to the case and outside right to your hands. I don’t mind the heat so much but, compared to my other Windows laptops made of plastic, I wonder if this burning MacBook metal is a better or worse sensation or if my wondering is merely being sensational.

2. Whine: It seems many MacBook Pros have an annoying high-pitched whine that Apple cannot seem to fix or even make it clear if they think the problem exists or not. I don’t mind the whine so much — many blame it on the new Intel chip in the MacBook Pros and Intel blames Apple and Apple says nothing — because I always have iTunes playing, the TV is on, the radio is turned up and my Vornado fans are blowing full blast. My poor cat, however, refuses to sit on my lap now. The whine hurts his ears and in a quiet room it hurts mine, too. I can’t imagine using this MacBook Pro in a library where quiet is the mandate of the day: I’d be tossed out on my dual-core.

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Top Ten Reasons I Love My MacBook Pro

I have had my MacBook Pro for a month now and so far I believe it is the best machine I have ever owned. I have owned a lot of machines! The key to loving the MacBook Pro was to make it my main box — my ThinkPad T43p is still here — but over there as my secondary machine now. Now I do everything with my MacBook Pro.

I have been able to nearly replicate my entire Windows experience on my MacBook Pro by purchasing or cross-grading over to the Mac version of the software. Here are the Top Ten Reasons I am loving my MacBook Pro:

1. Mail: I do a lot of email every day. I get a lot of Spam and Junk. I need to easily reply to 11 email accounts throughout an 18 hour workday using IMAP. The bundled Mail application in OS X is truly magnificent. It beats Outlook 2003 and Entourage 2004 in every conceivable way. The application is fast, robust, reliable and super-easy to setup and manage. I could not ask for a better way to manage my mail and the fact that Mail is bundled for free as part of my MacBook Pro experience is a delight unlike no other.

41 High Priority Updates

Yesterday I pulled through my collection of IBM ThinkPads to see which ones worked and which ones needed an update to start working again.
I found my old ThinkPad T40p with its massive — at that time — 40gig HDD that I used two years ago and ran into the ground with heavy usage. 

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Logitech Z-2300 2.1 THX-Certified Sound System Review

One of the most overlooked vital pieces of setting up a good computer experience is getting the right sound system to compliment your multimedia experience. I am a laptop user and many think getting good sound out of such a small embedded subsystem is not possible, but the Logitech Z-2300 2.1 THX-Certified Sound System proves delicate and thundering sound can be had in an instant for around $90.

Logitech Z-2300 THX Speaker System

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